Cryotherapy or cryosurgery uses super cooled nitrogen or argon gas to freeze liver lesions thereby destroying the tumor. Similar to Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), the procedure can be performed through a needle. A doctor will use MRI or ultrasound to guide the probe and monitor the formation of an “ice ball” in the tumor, limiting damage to surrounding tissue. The procedure may also be performed using an open surgical procedure. Clinical and laboratory research suggest that hepatic cryotherapy is effective in patients with inoperable tumors, which are located in a difficult section of the liver (near large vessels).
Common Side Effects
Complications of cryotherapy may include bleeding, mild fever, increased liver enzymes due to damage to the bile ducts, infection or abscess.
Typically, the patient will go home the same day. An open surgical procedure requires an incision be made in the abdomen, general anesthesia is needed and the recovery period will be longer.